Question No. 526

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:
To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider increasing the Housing Assistance Payment for recipients in North Kildare, to reflect the level of rent in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th November, 2015.

Ref No: 41612/15


Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)

The implementation of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is a key Government priority and a major pillar of the Social Housing Strategy 2020 . There are currently more than 5,100 households in receipt of HAP and the scheme has been rolled out to all categories of household in 18 local authority areas.

The maximum rent limits for different household classes that apply in each local authority where HAP has been commenced are set out in regulations and are generally based on the Rent Supplement limits as set out by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). In prescribing these limits, household size and prevailing rents in the relevant areas are taken into consideration. My Department works closely with the Department of Social Protection and monitors data which it gathers, along with PRTB data, and data gathered through HAP pilot authorities, in relation to the rent limits applying.

In recognition of the challenging Dublin region rental market, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and I have signed the Housing Assistance Payment (Amendment)(No.4) Regulations 2015, which provide for the introduction of HAP in Kildare County Council, from 2 November 2015, with maximum rent limits equivalent to current Rent Supplement rates applicable in South Dublin . In addition, these regulations provide for an additional 20% flexibility above the maximum rent limits that apply for the purposes of HAP in the administrative area of Kildare County Council.

I am determined to give local authorities the resources and flexibility to make the HAP scheme an effective and practical tool for meeting housing need in their area, and I am satisfied, based on careful analysis, that the current arrangements do that both in the northern part of Kildare County Council’s administrative area and in the southern part of the county , where the rental market is less challenging.

I will continue to keep HAP rent limits under review.